Hello and welcome to my blog. I've been getting some thoughts & feelings, exasperations and the odd happy moment down on the blog which helps my sanity and, I hope, provides a little entertaining read for you for a couple of minutes!

Right now I am mostly concentrating on getting through a rocky financial patch which I really hope will be cleared (all being well) by the end of Summer 2013. In the meantime I need to concentrate on continuing to do well in my "new" job (actually got it in Sept 2011 but it still feels new!) and living my life as frugally as possible.

Thanks for stopping by and if you leave me an encouraging comment, it'll make my day. :-)

Monday, 29 August 2011

Are the Seasons Changing Already?

Howdy all!  How are you today?  I hope you are well.

Well here we are on the last Bank Holiday before Christmas - eeeek!  I said the 'C' word.  Sorry.

Anyway it's still officially British Summer but doesn't it feel like Autumn today?  Well it does where I am!  Windy, chilly, cloudy with the occasional bit of sunshine.  I refuse to put the heating on yet - it's chilly enough to warrant having it on a bit later in the day to take the edge off but, no way!  Heating on in August is just wrong.

So I've got thick socks on, jeans and a long sleeved top and am drinking lots of tea today.  Haven't really got a great deal of funds to get out & about on this Bank Holiday which is a shame but with it being so uninviting out there I don't feel like I am missing out on much.

To keep me out of mischief today I've shampooed the spare room carpet (again) to make sure the borrowed Vax is ok before I give it back later.  I've also vacuumed all of downstairs, washed up & given the kitchen a once over, I've shopped locally for a very few essential items and I've cleaned some windows on the inside.  Also caught up on some correspondence with friends.

I finish my despised job this week then I have the time off between jobs that I am so so so looking forward to!  Wish me luck though people.  I really don't want this new job to fail. 

Oh....Aldi  I have been buying more bits & pieces from there to see how things go.  Really pleased with some stuff i.e. bread, strawberry conserve, chocolate, fig rolls (yeah - essentials here!), kitchen cleaner & all the fresh veg / fruit I've bought.  Not so keen on their honey nut cornflakes but at 99p a box you have to try these things!  I will definitely be using them for my weekly top up shops though and hope to save a bundle.

I had a massive piece of luck last week in that I ordered some salon hair products off EBAY (shampoo & conditioner) in a dual pack, each bottle being 280ml.  The guy shipped me ONE LITRE BOTTLES of each....and two of each!  I emailed him to let him know his mistake but in a nutshell he said keep them but thanks for your honesty!  So I now have enough shampoo to last me I don't know how long (I am going to give one bottle away to a friend as I will never get through two litres of shampoo before it's past its best) and the conditioner will last me about 6 months I think (my hair drinks conditioner).  Result!  That's going to save me some serious money for the rest of this year. 

I also got severely overpaid from work in my last pay packet which I 'fessed up to straight away (honesty is always best policy) but unfortunately they weren't quite so generous so I have to give the difference back tomorrow by cheque!  Oh well, better to get it sorted now rather than when they realise however many months later eh?

That's about it from me, not a very exciting update today but at least you know I'm still here!

Bye for now - thanks for reading!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon....

Hi everyone, how are you?  I do hope everyone is well and enjoying the sunshine today.  I've been out sitting in the garden for a while and enjoyed it.

It feels like ages since I last posted anything.  I have been completely knackered from the early shifts this week and after getting home, eating and doing whatever needs to be done, I've not had much energy for anything else so apologies.

But here we are at the weekend again and I feel rather more energised!

Well what a mixture this weekend has been.  Yesterday I was up fairly early (after a week of early starts at work, 9.00am felt like a disgusting extravagance!) and did loads of things around the house.  Last weekend was a busy one too after I borrowed a carpet cleaner and cleaned all carpeted rooms in the house...which saved a lot of money as all it cost me was a bottle of carpet cleaner and the water/electricity to do the job itself.

This weekend was just general stuff to do like usual cleaning, washing, food shopping & stuff like that.  Apart from the groceries I have not spent any money so that's a good thing.  So yesterday was mega busy and today was more laid back.  Got up early again and lazed on the sofa watching Gok Wan and Supersize vs Superskinny till midday & hubby made scrummy porridge (the sun didn't come out till later so it didn't feel too weird eating porridge on a summer's morning!).

I am feeling a little hypocritical today though as I posted on the wonderful Frugal Queen's blog earlier today about the giving away of things and it is something I do regularly one way or the other, but I am currently selling three pairs of shoes on EBAY!  In my defence, I listed them last weekend before that post.  And I would have given two pairs away gladly but only two of my friends are the same size shoe as me.  One doesn't wear high heels any more and the other already has loads of shoes too and, without wanting to sounds bitchy, isn't exactly in need of hand outs. 

I have sold one pair to someone in the same city as me so she is coming to collect them tonight.  The other two pairs finish tomorrow and next weekend respectively. 

One pair of these pairs to sell are frankly way too good to give away.  They are a well known shoe designer name and I bought them about a year ago and have never worn them.  Idiot that I am.  They're gorgeous.  I'd be an even bigger idiot if I didn't try and get something for them.  Pretty much the same with the other pair too though they're not quite as mouthwatering but they've only been worn once (same designer but bought in 2009 for wedding).

I do have one more pair of shoes that I didn't list on EBAY which are high high high heels and I think I will pop them into a charity shop.  You never know, they may well be someone's dream going out shoes and they can get them for a song.

I'm really rambling aren't I?  About shoes.  How boring.  If you've made it this far through the post I think you deserve a medal.

In other news, I finally popped into Aldi in the week just gone and was very pleasantly surprised at the cost of things and the quality of the bag of parsnips I bought!  I asked a frugal friend I have if she has ever shopped and Aldi and she told me she's been shopping there for years and recommended some particular things (and advised me to steer clear of certain others) so that was good feedback.  I am planning to pop back in this week for any fresh stuff that we need so I'll have another nosy around to see what they have for when I need to do a "big shop" and stock up.

I'll be doing an inventory soon of what tinned stuff we have to see how long we can make meals for before another such big shop though.

What else, ah yes.  I failed on the Chinese Takeaway desire.  I gave in last Friday and we had one delivered in to celebrate it being the end of the week and my not having to work a crappy late shift.  It was delicious but unfortunately they delivered meaty spring rolls instead of vegetarian ones and refused to believe me when I rang to complain so I swore never to use them again!  Perhaps it is someone up there giving me a big clue that I SHOULDN'T BE SPENDING MONEY ON CHINESE TAKEAWAYS!

I have walked past the Body Shop though and am using up the dregs of all shower gels I have before going out to purchase anything else.   And when I do I'll be looking for BOGOFs in Tesco no doubt, not the Body Shop's finest!

The pizza is a work in progress though.  Seeing a friend at the beginning of next month for a pre-arranged lunch and I am pretty sure we'll be either popping out to the deli section of her local Sainsburys which apparently does great "build your own" pizzas or we'll be dialling one in.  But, call me weak if you like, as it's a social meeting and I will have been paid and budgeted for it, I am not beating myself up too much about it.  It'll still be cheaper than going out for lunch somewhere I'm sure!

Right well that's me done for now.

Wishing you a happy week and thanks for taking the time to read today.


Monday, 8 August 2011

Resist! Resist!

Isn't it interesting how different we all are?

There are some people out there, who, when faced with my current financial situation (trying to stop overdraft from spiralling out of control...it is not allowed to get over the free £250 overdraft I have!) would batten down all the hatches, pull out all the frugal cookbooks, burn their credit cards (or at least freeze them in a block of ice) and then inspiringly & creatively they would build their bank balance up again and then write a worldwide best selling book about it thus lifting them out of the situation altogether.

But what do I do?  Get a massive yearning to go shopping, go out for lunches with friends, treat myself to crap I don't need and generally stick two fingers up at the bank balance.  What the hell is wrong with me?

Now don't get me wrong, I have been very very good in the past, shifting thousands and thousands of pounds worth of debt from loans, credit cards and TWO massive overdrafts that make my current £250 look like small change, and my naughty spending ways have been curtailed immensely.  But my God does that little spending devil on my shoulder still exist. 

I am drooling over a Chinese takeaway I desperately want (I am taking notice of that word "want" rather than "need"!) from a fantastic place in our village.  I am also yearning for a vegetarian pizza....it's been I don't know how long since I had a pizza.  Maybe 5 months?  Actually that's not that long ago but it was a rare treat meal out with a friend and doesn't count.  I am thinking lay-about-on-the-sofa-with-pizza-from-box type pizza.  Yes readers I also have a sluttish lazy side!

I want to go out and splurge some cash in The Body Shop....how I love the vanilla range and the Neroli range.  I have run out of both, all bar the few washes of Neroli shower gel I have left.  Oh woe is me!  How dreadful life is that I can't afford my favourite body lotions and potions!  Ahem.

Ah well.  I just have to keep on resisting for a while.  Damn it, it's hard sometimes though!  Anyway readers, don't judge me on my yearnings....but you can judge me on my success or failure to resist them...I guess time will tell right?

On the positive side, I am back to a normal shift this week....fabulous!  This time last week I still had half an hour to go at work, this week I have been home, had dinner, washed up, cleaned the bathroom, started a load of washing off, cleaned the kitchen down, sent some emails, made my lunch for tomorrow, polished all of upstairs and the coffee table!  And still two hours or so before bed time.  I feel quite virtuous. 

I think I will sit down and watch an episode of Supersize vs Superskinny that I recorded yesterday.  That'll keep me out of trouble.

Bye bye for now!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Time Drags When....You're On a Dodgy Shift Pattern

Oh for the love of God is it not the weekend yet?  Not enjoying this week at all and will be ecstatic when it is over!  Thank the stars I am leaving soon!

Well my leaving date has been fixed and my start date of new job also fixed - and it leaves me with some time off in between which I am looking forward to immensely but the worry is, it is unpaid.  Well I guess I have the choice of asking if I can start the new job a bit sooner but the truth is, I think I would rather eat beans on toast all the way through October (cos Septembers pay will be minus 7 days worth of pay) if it comes to that as I am gagging for some more time to myself!  Hubby might take some convincing about the beans on toast thing but he's welcome to try some frugal creativity in the kitchen if he likes!

We've got one thing planned for the weekend after I finish work though...we're going to an exhibition (free!) in London and I booked the train tickets tonight in advance...£36 return for the both of us.  Certainly wouldn't cost as that much to drive & park but frankly I can do without the hassle and he would hate driving in London too.  So train taking the strain it is then.

I have got to be careful at the moment as I just feel somewhat giddy at the thought of leaving my job and I want to have so much fun, do lots of social things and enjoy myself after a year of feeling miserable.  I have to be careful not to go crazy...I do get swept up in the whole "you only live once" state of mind at times and it's at those times that the plastic gets flashed.  Regrets?  I've had a few.......and I'll have a few more of a financial nature if I don't keep a check on things!

Well what else to report this week....I did my first ASDA online shop and feel I got a lot more for my money with them than I have done in the past with Tesco or Sainsburys.  Hopefully I will like their range of own products and will use them again.  Although should I still be checking out Aldi or LIDL for things like tinned tomatoes, pulses etc?  Does anyone know how they compare to ASDA smart price stuff?

Oooh I know what else....I got the gas & electric bills in yesterday too.  Gas was down about £3.50 and electric was down by....about 30p!  Unfortunately, as I suspected, due to all the rain and having to use the tumble dryer, I couldn't manage it down really.  Still - at least it didn't go UP eh?  Only about 2 more months till water meter gets read and I will find out if I have managed to get the monthly direct debit down on that too.

Something has got to help pay for my fun times!  ;-)

Right then, I had better start thinking about bed time. 

How's everyone else's week going?  Feel free to tell me about any money saving things or fun things you've done or are planning for....I love a bit of inspiration and hearing other's tales me!

Bye for now.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

And ain't that the truth!  Where did my time off go?

And goodness me it is almost a week since I last posted.  I was back to work today on a weird shift which I am on all week.  So my 'evenings' are everyone else's getting ready for bed time!

Well where to start.....oh yes, David Tennant and Much Ado About Nothing.  Good grief I haven't laughed so much in a long time believe me.  He is hilarious and so is Catherine Tate.  I had an absolute ball on Saturday afternoon and my ultra generous friend who purchased the tickets did too.  We spent a long time chatting before and afterwards and also had several 'pit stops' in cafes (which were very welcome as we walked a long way round the streets of London town to avoid packed, hot underground stations and save money!) and we both agreed the show was a complete winner.  Definitely recommended if you have the money for a treat and there are any tickets left.  I think it runs till September.

I also met up with a couple of other friends last week and I didn't blow my social budget and I even brought some cash home from London too so I am quite pleased about that.  I have put a fiver's worth of petrol in the car to see me through till I can top up properly towards the back end of the week and completely wasted £1.05 in the vending machine at work on rubbish today but I was starving!  We had b*gger all in the house to take to work apart from a banana and a sandwich.  When I popped into a shop before work to buy something sensible for extra, I just wasn't hungry at the time and looking at all the food made me feel a bit queasy.  So I made my exit!   Obviously regretted that later on.

I have had the formal new job offer letter now subject to my CRB check coming back ok and the Occupational Health Department not causing a fuss over anything on my Health Questionnaire.  I would hope this means I can start mid September.  I am having a small amount of time off between jobs which will be unpaid unfortunately but I am prepared to pull the belt in even tighter in the Autumn to enjoy a bit of time off when the weather will still be good as who knows when my next time off will be?  Maybe Christmas.

Well that is about it for now - I have come over really snoozy and can't concentrate so instead of waffling on about nothing I shall bid you good night and hope that you all have a good week.

Bye for now!